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This is an exceptional two volume work with original illustrations from Geroge Barbier. The work is Theophile Gautier’s Le Roman de la Momie. It was published in Paris in 1929 by A. & G. Mornay.
It features a double suite of plates printed on “sur vieux Japon” and Chine paper. The work was limited to 1091 copies, however this is one of only three with 13 original ink and watercolor illustrations from Barbier, and is copy number one. There are 36 color illustrations and 2 additional suites (one in full color and one in outline).
The work was specially bound by George Crette, with his gilt stamped name inside the text volume. The two volumes are in blue crushed levant. Crette was “one of the Ecole Estienne’s most brilliant pupils.. [who] after graduating joined Marius-Michel’s studio, eventually taking over a month before the master’s death in 1925” (Duncan and de Bartha, Art Nouveau and Art Deco Bookbinding. The French Masterpieces 1880-1940, 1989).
Theophile Gauthier’s work was an “Orientalist” novel centered on the discovery of a mummy of a female pharaoh in the Valley of Kings.
George Barbier (1882-1932) was one of the greatest French artists of the early 20th century. He first exhibited in 1911 at the age of 29 where he gained many commissions to design costumes and illustrate works, fashion in particular. Barbier led a group nicknamed by Vogue “The Knights of the Bracelet” formed from artists from the Ecole des Beaux Arts and including Monvel, Brissaud, Iribe, Lepape, and Martin. Beyond his illustrations, Barbier created jewelry, glass and wallpaper design.
Provenance: Francis Kettaneh, bookplate